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Staff

Our Staff

Our International Secretariat, based in central London, is staffed by a diverse and dedicated group that administer PEN International’s campaigns, programmes, events, communications and general affairs. The International Secretariat supports PEN Centres worldwide, helping them to be active and vibrant hubs for reading and writing in their countries, and helping them to connect to one another. We work closely with the Board and Centres.
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Romana Cacchioli

Executive Director

Romana Cacchioli

Executive Director

Romana joined PEN International in March 2014 as Director of International Programmes. She manages the organisation’s work in delivering access to education, and human rights education, literary and civil society programmes across the world.

Romana has twenty years’ experience working in human rights, most recently with Anti-Slavery International where she led their Programmes and Advocacy team in advocating for reform in law and policy and seeking redress through national courts for those affected by slavery. She led the development of local and grass roots organisations and movements to understand and claim their rights, including on access to quality education, and income generation activities for communities affected by slavery.

romana.cacchioli [at] pen-international.org

Carles Torner

Director Centenary Programme

Carles Torner

Director Centenary Programme

Carles Torner is a Catalan writer. He has been active in PEN International’s work for over twenty years; in that time he has served as a member of the board, chair of the Translation and Linguistic Rights Committee. He has also participated in several missions for imprisoned writers. He has published essays and poems about PEN’s defense of freedom of expression across the world.

Before joining PEN as Executive Director, he was director of the Literature and Humanities Department at the Ramon Llull Institute, where he was in charge of the presence of Catalan literature as guest of honour at the Frankfurt book fair and the Guadalajara International book fair. He holds a PhD from the university of Paris VIII and was a lecturer in Communication and International Relations at Blanquerna, Universitat Ramon Llull, in Barcelona.
carles.torner [at] pen-international.org

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Emmanuel Asamoah

Finance, HR and Admin Director Company Secretary

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Sandrine Fameni

Finance & Administration Officer

Sandrine Fameni

Finance & Administration Officer

Sandrine joined PEN in August 2010 as a part time Finance and Administration Officer. Sandrine is part of the finance team, which manages the Finance, Human Resources and the IT functions of the organisation. She has a Degree in Accountancy and also studied ACCA. Sandrine is a fluent French speaker.

Sandrine.fameni [at] pen-international.org

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Salwa Mohamed

Finance and Administration Officer

Salwa Mohamed

Finance and Administration Officer

Salwa joined PEN International in December 2015 as the Finance and Administration Officer. Salwa is part of the team that’s responsible for the Finance, Human Resources and the IT functions of the organisation. Salwa also currently works as a part time tutor for ACCA Foundation level and AAT in a college.

salwa.mohamed [at] pen-international.org

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Cathy McCann

Writers at Risk Protection Manager

Cathy McCann

Writers at Risk Protection Manager

Cathy joined PEN in 1996, working as Asia/MENA Researcher for the Writers in Prison Committee for nearly 20 years until the creation of a Protection team in 2015, which she now manages. Before joining PEN she spent two years working in southern China with the development organisation VSO, and studied at SOAS and York University.

Cathy.McCann [at] pen-international.org

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Patricia Diaz

Writers at Risk Protection Officer

Patricia Diaz

Writers at Risk Protection Officer

Patricia joined PEN International in 2007, as Research & Campaigns Assistant for Asia, MENA and Europe, for the Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC)  She has also assisted PEN’s work around the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in the UN, led by the WiPC’s Programme Director. She currently works providing support to persecuted writers and assisting in the development of advocacy strategies to support and protect writers at risk. Prior to joining PEN, she gained experience working for five years for the Bolivian Human Rights Ombudsman, and worked for NGOs in Bolivia, her country of origin, and in the UK. She holds an LLM degree in human rights achieved after obtaining a Chevening Scholarship.

patricia.diaz [at] pen-international.org

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Basim Mardan

Middle East and North Africa Researcher

Basim Mardan

Middle East and North Africa Researcher

Basim joined PEN International in July 2016 as Writers at Risk Protection Officer (Arabic Speaking). Basim is a former ICORN guest writer in Skien/Norway (2006-2008). Basim holds a bachelor degree in Arabic into English, English into Arabic Translation and Linguistics. In Iraq, he worked as an interpreter for the joint civil authority in Mosul, he published a book of poetry and wrote several articles for local newspapers, along with his involvement with civil society NGOs as a translator/editor and consultant.

During his stay in Norway (2006-2016) Basim Mardan published his poems and short stories in English and Norwegian alongside his constant participation in literary events and festivals. He has also cooperated as a translator with several ICORN guest writers and worked as a freelance translator/consultant for ICORN since 2009.

basim.mardan [at] pen-international.org

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Maura Sanchez

Executive Assistant & Translations Manager

Maura Sanchez

Executive Assistant & Translations Manager

Maura joined PEN International in February 2018. She is the Executive Assistant and Translations Manager. Alongside these responsibilities, she is part of the Institutional Fundraising team and oversees the annual election process. She has several year of experience working for other NGOs and for the EU, as part of the Secretariat body of the European Medicines Agency. She has also trained and worked as a foreign language teacher.

Maura has a Master degree in Art History and a Postgraduate degree in valuation or art and books. She is a human rights, animal rights and environmental activist and actively collaborates with various animal charities as a volunteer.

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Ginevra Avalle

Archives Collection Manager

Ginevra Avalle

Archives Collection Manager

Ginevra is responsible for developing and curating an archive collection that charts PEN International and all PEN Centre’s history and activities in order to celebrate the Centenary in 2021. Ginevra is a qualified archivist with several years' experience working in research analysis, cataloguing, and promotion of private collections. Ginevra holds a MA in Archival and Library Science from the University of Florence

Olha Mukha

Congress Coordinator

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Cathal Sheerin

Regional Programme Coordinator

Cathal Sheerin

Regional Programme Coordinator

Cathal re-joined PEN International as the Africa Programme Coordinator in September 2018. Previously, he was the Researcher and Campaigner for Europe (2013-2015) and the Researcher and Campaigner for the Americas and Africa (2011-2012). Cathal has several years' experience working in journalism, free expression and human rights. He has postgraduate qualifications in journalism and literature.

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Alicia Quinones

Americas Regional Programme Coordinator

Alicia Quinones

Americas Regional Programme Coordinator

Alicia is a Mexican writer, journalist and editor. For the past fifteen years she has contributed to leading newspapers, magazines and television programmes throughout Latin America. She joined PEN International as the Latin American Consultant in 2018, and as a Regional Coordinator for the Americas in 2020. She volunteered in the organisation for six years beforehand where she researched and advocated for cases in Mexico.

Alicia studied literature and journalism, which focused on the Laws to do with access to Information. She is the author of three books.

alicia.quinones@pen-international.org

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Nduko o'Matigere

Africa Regional Programme Coordinator

Nduko o'Matigere

Africa Regional Programme Coordinator

Prior to joining PEN, Nduko worked for several years as an independent consultant with numerous civil society and donor programmes across Africa where he provided expertise in program development, capacity strengthening for human rights defenders and their organizations, research, strategy formulation, and project evaluations. Some of the organizations Nduko has worked in this capacity include Amnesty International; Hivos; Open Society Initiative for Eastern Africa; the European Union Delegation to Somalia; Forum Syd; Civic Defenders; the Defend Defenders Network; Women Empowerment Link; Protection International; Equitas International Centre for Human Rights Education; and the Defenders Coalition, among others.

Previously, Nduko developed and managed large national programmes at the Kenya Human Rights Commission and Oxfam Novib as a Programme Officer and at the regional civic agency initiative - Twaweza East Africa, as the Kenya Country Manager.

Nduko.oMatigere@pen-international.org

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Ross Holder

Asia Regional Programme Coordinator

Ross Holder

Asia Regional Programme Coordinator

Previously working as an academic at Trinity College Dublin, Ross has an established expertise on the human rights situation in Xinjiang and the strengths and limitations of the United Nations Human Rights System. Alongside his responsibilities as lecturer and researcher, Ross also oversaw the development of several human rights initiatives including the Trinity Human Rights and Religions Summer School.

Ross also has several years’ experience working in an advocacy capacity alongside NGOs including Amnesty International, Frontline Defenders and the Scholars at Risk Network on a wide range of human rights issues.

Ross.Holder@pen-international.org

Paul Julien

Head of Development

Paul Julien

Head of Development

Paul Julien has been a charity fundraiser for 20 years and joined PEN in May 2020, following 10 years at a Palestinian NGO. He has worked with Oxfam, Freedom from Torture, and Prisoners Abroad. He holds a Master’s Degree in Critical Theory and before university worked as a professional writer and musician. He is currently working on a collection for a small poetry press.

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Portia Vanderplank-Jones

Events & Fundraising Officer

Veronica Maza

Digital Consultant for the Americas and Caribbean

Veronica Maza

Digital Consultant for the Americas and Caribbean

Veronica is a Mexican journalist, writer and gender educator. For the past thirty years she has worked in many media as editor, reporter, researcher, host and broadcaster. She teaches classes, workshops and conferences about literature, journalism, feminism and sexuality, focusing her work on human rights. In recent years she has specialized in the digital age and online platforms. She is the author of seven books.

In 2020, she joined to PEN International as Digital Consultant for the Americas and Caribbean.

veronica.maza@pen-international.org

Sara Whyatt

Europe Regional Programme Coordinator

Sara Whyatt

Europe Regional Programme Coordinator

Sara has a long history working with PEN which she joined in 1990 as director of its global freedom of expression research and advocacy programs. Previously she had worked for several years as Amnesty International’s Asia Research Department, running an on-line media service providing business news from the Middle East, and for a documentary film company specialising in human rights.

In 2013 Sara left PEN to take up consultancy with a focus on freedom of artistic expression and has provided research and strategic support for organizations including Freemuse, Culture Action Europe, the Swedish Arts Council, the International Freedom of Expression Exchange, Hildesheim University, the German Institute for International Relations (IFA), the Council of Europe among others. She is a member of the EU/UNESCO Expert Facility for the 2005 Convention on the Promotion and Protection of Cultural Expressions and in 2019 joined Columbia University Global Freedom of Expression experts. She holds an MA in Cultural Policy, Relations and Diplomacy from Goldsmiths University London’s Institute of Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship.

Sara continues to provide consultancy support to PEN International including as editor of its annual Writers in Prison Case List and presently as Europe Regional Programme Coordinator.

sara.whyatt@pen-international.org

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Ege Dündar

Youth Engagement Coordinator

Ege Dündar

Youth Engagement Coordinator

Ege Dündar is a writer and activist from Turkey. Before joining PEN International, he co-authored a fable book, produced and presented a weekly music program in NumberOne TV and worked as a Sunday columnist in Milliyet Daily newspaper. His writing has been published in outlets such as BirGün, LeManyak and PEN Transmissions.

A graduate of International Politics at City University, Ege Dündar has been working at PEN International for the last five years, initially as a fellow, later as Turkey Consultant and most recently supporting PEN as its Youth Engagement Coordinator. He is the founder and coordinator of the young writers network İlkyaz and Creative Witnesses, the solidarity action series bringing together musicians and creative artists in support of writers at risk.

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Sabrina Tucci

Communications and Campaigns Manager (Interim)

Sabrina Tucci

Communications and Campaigns Manager (Interim)

Sabrina Tucci is an Italian human rights practitioner, based in London. She joined PEN International in October 2020 as Communications and Campaigns Manager.

Sabrina’s previous experience includes working for over a decade at the International Secretariat of Amnesty International where, in her latest role, she was Amnesty’s Campaigner on Business and Human Rights Issues. Prior to that, she conducted research, campaigning and advocacy work on the death penalty and on refugees and migrants’ rights issues.

Sabrina has extensive field work experience in the MENA region, Africa and Europe. Among others, she served in the Occupied Palestinian Territories as human rights monitor and advocate on behalf of the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel.

Sabrina has published articles and essays on different human rights issues in both academic journals and mainstream media. She holds a Master’s Degree in Refugee Studies from City, University of London.

Sabrina.Tucci [at] pen-international.org